Former RAF Marham serviceman from Downham Market gets set to take on Warrior Games
A former RAF Marham serviceman from Downham is set to represent the UK at an international sporting event in America which starts next week.
David Rose, 48, who left the Royal Air Force in February due to life-changing medical conditions, will take on the Warrior Games in Colorado from next Friday.
The event will see around 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from America, the UK, Australia and Canada compete in a number of events. Mr Rose has been selected from hundreds of applicants to be one of just 38 to represent the UK.
He said: "Getting me to this point in time and in a condition where I can compete on an international stage for wounded, injured and sick (WIS) military and veteran personnel has been a massive team effort."
Mr Rose served in the RAF for 31 years across the globe including war zones, but he said his injuries, nerve damage in his right arm and a "knackered" left knee, were predominantly gained in the UK.
During the last couple of years, Mr Rose underwent two lots of complex surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
"Having been a keen sportsman during my service, it looked like I would be limited to very few sports and fitness options," he said.
But staff at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court, the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes had other ideas.
"They introduced me to adaptive sports which was a game-changer in my mindset and recovery."
Mr Rose said he was encouraged to swim again, and taught how to swim with one arm and one leg. He also began cycling again using a recumbent trike.
"Not everything was positive, I did find the change in my circumstances psychologically challenging but with the help of family, friends and SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity) support workers, I made steady progress."
Mr Rose said, prior to leaving the RAF, he bought a recumbent trike, with assistance from the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Association and Help for Heroes.
He said he was encouraged to apply for the Invictus and Warrior Games by other patients at Headley Court, and went through the selection process for both events, and found out he had been selected for the Warrior Games a matter of weeks ago.
He was also helped to improve the state of his trike by Martin Foreman, owner of M-Bikes, who he said spent some of his free time helping him to set up it.
In order to prepare himself for the games' trials, Mr Rose also joined the King's Lynn and West Norfolk Bike User Group (KLWNBUG) and regularly swum at the Alive Leisure pool in Downham, where he was also advised by the West Norfolk Swimming Club.
"KLWNBUG took me on many rides throughout the winter and spring with the other benefit that I felt comfortable with my disabilities whilst out amongst the public.
"The staff at Alive have been really supportive, watching me progressively improve."
Mr Rose is set to fly out to America early next week for the games, where he will be competing in swimming and cycling events.
"I am excited and I am nervous for I have never competed internationally let alone at adapted sports," he said.
"I will push myself very hard whilst in Colorado and repay through my efforts the belief and help given to me by so many fantastic people both in West Norfolk and across the military community."